I’m a seasoned executive coach for leaders and high performing individuals who are looking to take their skills to the next level. My work as a coach is to help leaders/you find out what is in your way and then help you find new ways to achieve your goals. Success means that these goals are easier and more effective, lower your stress levels, and bring more balance into your life. I am the “how do I….” coach!
So, how do you get to the next level? You begin with growing your self-awareness.
Self-awareness has a few components. One piece is discovering your blind spots. Blind spots are the things we don’t know about ourselves. The frustrating thing about blind spots is that others see them clearly. You do not. Blind spots impact your performance and relationships.
Another component is taking a closer look at your beliefs, values and assumptions that are driving your decisions and behaviors. Unconsciously, these are the factors that drive us, and therefore, we automatically take certain things for granted. “This is just the way I am” is a common thought. Often with closer examination you discover new things about yourself and how you are engaging with various situations or people that have a negative impact that you did not previously realize.
We all have stories in our head that trip us up. Until we see them, the stories will continue to trip us up. A “story in your head” is the narrative you hold to be true about yourself, others or a situation. These stories are influenced by your identity, values, beliefs and assumptions.
So, let’s talk about becoming self-aware. Sounds easy. It’s not! But there are several methods to help you become more self-aware.
One method is taking an assessment. There are a wide variety of assessments that can help you take a deeper look into your behaviors and how they are impacting those around you and yourself. DISC, Strength Finders, Positive Intelligence are a sampling of some assessment tools.
Organizations often use 360 assessments as a tool to help individuals get feedback on how they are perceived at multiple levels within your organization. Typically, there is someone who will give you a debrief to help you understand the results of the assessment and establish some developmental goals to support your desired goals. This person might be an internal or external coach who you work with on these goals.
By working with a coach, trusted friend, or advisor, in which you have a trusted confidential relationship, you will gain the ability to explore some of the challenges that you are facing, in a way that will help you discover deeper insights into yourself. This work should also challenge some of your beliefs or assumptions that may be holding you back.
Here are a couple of tips on how you can become more self-aware.
First, find a coach that you feel you could work with. There are a wide variety of coaches out there. When you are evaluating coaches, find out their areas of expertise and their training to determine if their style and approach would work for you.
A coach should be able to help you figure out what’s impacting your performance. In the coaching engagement, you will discover your blind spots and stories in your head that are holding you back. From there you will learn new tools and strategies to help you shift into higher performing behaviors.
If you’re in an organization where 360s are common, ask your manager if it would be possible to participate in an assessment to help support your professional growth. A 360 assessment can be done through interviewing a variety of people in your organization or through an online survey tool to gather feedback on how you are performing in a variety of competencies.
If you are in a leadership role, I highly recommend Marshall Goldsmith’s book What Got You Here…..Won’t Take You There. Marshall highlights the top ten blind spots of leaders. You might gain some insight into yourself there as well.
Bottom line: you need to understand where you are in order to understand where you need to go.
Cindy Risetter is a professionally trained Executive Coach who works with leaders in the C-Suite helping them remove their roadblocks to achieve the next level of success. She is a Certified Advance Narrative Coach and is currently in the process of International Coaching Federation and PQ Coach certification.